Museum Eating in Chicago Just Got a Lot Greener

by Food Tank

Chicago’s Field Museum has furthered its commitment to sustainability with the opening of two restaurants in late 2013, the Field Bistro and the family-oriented Explorer Café. The two dining spots, which feature locally produced or grown ingredients, replaced McDonald’s and Corner Bakery.

The restaurants, which are ingredient-driven and serve a variety of regional and international dishes, are complemented by The Bistro Bar, serving up local craft beer, including a creation made especially for the museum in partnership with Off Color Brewing: Tooth & Claw, a Czech-style Pilsner inspired by t-rex Sue, one of the museum’s main attractions.

“The Field Bistro developed from a belief that we needed to integrate the restaurants into the Museum’s core missions of conservation and education,” said Megan Williams Beckert, Director of Special Events, Tourism Group Sales and Food Operations at the Field Museum. “With this in mind, we brought in experts on local farms as well as waste reduction to create a food service that serves our guests in the most sustainable way possible.”

Both restaurants are gold members of We Compost, a program of the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition designed to commend Illinois organizations and restaurants that dispose of food waste in a sustainable way.

The two restaurants follow a ten-year environmental strategy (created in partnership with Beyond Green, a sustainable foodservice consulting firm) designed to reduce food waste, use energy more efficiently, and provide better quality food.

The new restaurants follow the establishment of another green initiative by the museum: the Edible Treasures Garden, launched in early 2012. A partnership with the Peterson Garden Project, a non-profit Chicago-based organization which encourages people to grow their own food, the Field Museum garden is designed to show visitors the importance of preserving heirloom seeds in the context of an urban vegetable garden.

Image: Thomas Barrat /

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